That's a good rest. Enjoy.
The rays were shining through the gaps of the dense forestry. The moisture released by the trees turned into mist, and lingered around the gradually brightening sea of trees.
"Mmm— the forest during the night time has some mysterious aura about it, but the forest in the morning is pretty awesome too. The smell of the trees are much heavier."
"Eyri-nee, I saw a butterfly that was this big!"
The girl in overalls took a refreshing deep breath as she stretched her arms out wide. The black-haired little girl by her side was jumping around with a smile on her face.
"You two, don't get too far away."
Leon quickened his pace as well, so as not to lose sight of the two who may disappear from their wandering at any moment.
...... They're really energetic.
They had fooled around the whole time last night, so he had no idea where their energy came from.
"Ah, I can see the aircraft!"
Eyriey pointed to the silver object which they could see amid the trees.
"So we shall just wait here?"
"Yeah, I sent a mail to Sheltis' badge last night. Seems like we got here first."
After circling the aircraft once, there was still no sight of those two around.
"...... The damage to the aircraft is much lighter than what I had anticipated."
The silver aircraft was lying horizontally on the ground after it had knocked down a tree.
Despite being attacked by the electric faeries, they could not see many noticeable traces of damage on the outside. The worst was just the scratches to the outer coat of paint when it crashed onto the ground.
"But of course. It crashed only because the currents to the engines were not stable."
"It'll crash just from that?"
"Machines are actually very sensitive. However, I'll have to check through it once. It may be able to move now after a night, and even if it can't, we can still release a distress signal."
With that, the girl squeezed into the aircraft excitedly.
...... So I'll be looking after the kid while I leave the aircraft in her care?
"Can Yuto go there? There's a big tree over there!"
As he looked downwards at the little girl who was tugging onto his trousers, Leon gave a sigh,
"I'll come along as well. Don't stray off too far from the aircraft though."
The current in the engines had been tuned back to normal, and its output had been restored back to eighty percent.
"So everything's fine. What a good girl."
As she caressed the dials on the cockpit, Eyriey tossed the green gloves in her hands at the windows. She was originally worried that there might be a short-circuit when she conducted the check on the engine, but it seemed like she had worried too much about it. In fact, she was surprised by how normal everything was.
She turned around. The silver-haired young man was standing there.
"Ah, good timing. It seems like the aircraft is operational."
"That's perfect...... We've encountered something over here too. Yuto's waiting outside. You come along too."
With that, Leon walked out of the cockpit.
Despite her being all confused about the situation, Eyriey still followed behind him.
"Ah, Eyri-nee! It's great! I've found something!"
"What's up, Yuto?"
After descending from the steps of the aircraft, Yuto and Leon both walked up to her.
"So, what's happening around here?"
"Just as you were checking the aircraft, I took a walk around to check up on our surroundings. Did you notice something strange about this primeval forest?"
"I don't really know how to answer that sudden question of yours, since I'm not too well versed about biology."
"Especially the trees in that area."
Leon pointed towards an area of the primeval forest where there was a group of large trees clustered together. There were over tens of them, and they were protruding out of the forest like a small hill.
They had lined up in a circle, as though they were shielding something.
"That's right, that's the only place with a cluster of tall trees grouped together. I walked there to take a closer look, and...... I think it's better if you see it with your own eyes."
Leon turned around, with his coat swaying in the air.
"Ah, wait. We don't have to wait for Sheltis at the aircraft?"
"I've just contacted him. It seems like it will be a while before they reach here, so I asked them to head straight to that area to join in the search."
What exactly is that?
With a half curious and half confused mindset, Eyriey followed behind Leon and Yuto.
"Actually, the person who discovered that is Yuto."
The young man who was paving the road by prying open the branches suddenly stopped in his tracks.
...... This is?
"A research facility?"
It's a dark grayish rectangular building. There were no decorations nor windows on the walls, just green moss all over it. It's as though the building had camouflaged itself into the surrounding forest.
"Strange? Wait, this is definitely a research facility. But if so, isn't it really strange for it not to be registered on the map released by the Government Sector?"
"That's the most suspicious thing about this place."
Leon stared at the building before him.
"A research facility built on a desolated island; a totally enclosed structure without any windows. The green moss on the walls acts as a camouflage beneath the leaves of the trees, thus totally hiding itself from aerial view...... Well then, what exactly is the Government Sector planning?"
*Za* — The silver-haired swordsman walked to the front of the building with firm steps.
"So there's no main door at its front huh? Whatever. Let's find a place where we can enter. I'll head right. Eyriey and Yuto, you two head left."
"Understood. We'll just have to circle it once, right? Let's go, Yuto."
With her back facing Leon, Eyriey began to head towards the left side of the building with Yuto.
"...... Then again, it's really surprising that you can find something like this, Yuto."
"Ehehe, I'm good?"
"Well, it's no wonder we never noticed it. There's no way we'd realize it unless we got closer to it."
Alright, where exactly is the door located?
The two of them fixed their gaze on the walls as they walked on. However, they found nothing that looked remotely like an entrance despite them scanning through the walls of the building. The deep-gray paints on the building had already faded slightly due to the constant weathering...... from that alone, one can deduce that the building is not something that was built in recent years.
As they turned the first corner, they encountered the second wall.
It's almost the same as the first slab of wall that they saw - there are no windows nor decorations on it. The most they could see aside from the moss were the vines scaling the walls.
"Well— we can't get in at all. I wonder if Leon found anything over there."
Suddenly, she realized that her surroundings were deadly quiet.
The black-haired little girl was standing motionlessly at the first corner - it was as if she had stopped blinking and moving as well.
Those amber-colored eyes of hers were giving off a glow, as though she had detected something.
Just as Eyriey was about to shout.
"So it's here?"
Perhaps it was due to the wind, but Eyriey could barely pick up the soft words that came out of the little girl's mouth. In the next moment, Yuto's left hand shimmered, similar to a gush of hot air—
There was a rumbling sound akin to that of a wild beast. The originally seamless walls suddenly sank inwards. *Kan* - an entrance about the width of an adult appeared before them after the walls had totally sunk inside.
A secret passageway?
"Eyri-nee, here, here! This is great!"
"Eh? Ah......hhhh, mmm."
Eyriey finally regained her senses when she heard Yuto calling her with her childish voice...... Could that sound have been an illusion of hers?
"This is really impressive! Isn't this a secret passageway? How did you find it?"
"Mmm...... let's see?"
Yuto pushed her finger against her lips.
"Yuto doesn't know either! It just seemed like this wall was really clean."
"Ah, I get it. There's no moss over here."
Different from the other walls that they saw, since this wall had moving mechanisms, it would be hard for the moss to grow on it. Yuto probably saw it by chance, and never really thought that deep into it.
"So what do you guys got? Found anything?"
The silver-haired young man walked towards them from a corner far away.
"Ah, good news! Yuto found a secret passageway!"
"Oh? You've done quite a great deal, considering that you discovered the research facility as well."
The little girl closed her eyes in happiness as Leon patted her head.
"I've found an ordinary door over the other side. It's locked, but I don't really need much effort to destroy that sort of simple padlock...... So where should we enter?"
Eyriey pointed towards the dark passageway without hesitation.
"Of course the place that was hidden."
"My thoughts exactly."
Leon crossed his arms and nodded.
"I'll lead the way. You two must really be on your guard this time around."
"A research facility hidden amid the primeval forest huh — they've used some creative methods to conceal the building too. Leon and the girls are really something."
"...... Darn, I thought we could head back immediately. Seems like things are not as simple as I first thought."
Sheltis gave a slight wry smile as he looked at the dark gray building.
It's about two stories high, judging from its height. Since there were no windows to be seen, nor were there any seams, there may be more floors within than anticipated.
"How are things over there?"
He made a cross with his arms in reply to Monica's question, who was standing a considerable distance in front of him.
"Absolutely nothing. I've checked the surroundings thoroughly, but there's only a single place that seems suspicious."
There was a brand new copper-colored padlock on the door. The metal door was full of red rust, and yet the padlock looked as good as new - perfect proof that there's someone who's been using the door recently.
"I've found a secret passageway here...... though someone probably discovered it already. All I saw was an entrance."
"That should be Leon. He just sent me a message saying that he'd explore the place first, and asked us to help out when we arrived."
"So, what should we do? Do we chase them via that passageway?"
He pointed to the door that opens from the middle, and grabbed onto the metal padlock.
"We'll go this way."
"I was thinking the same too."
Monica swung the crossed rods <Rosario> in her right hand. There was a hint of a smile in her sharp eyes.
The door was destroyed with a dull sound.
"Right, let's go."
— The reason the Queen sent a Sennenshi to this island.
— If the reason is because of this research facility here......
"Monica, I don't think I need to remind you, but please stay on your guard."
Gripping onto the two handlebars, Sheltis pushed opened the door of the research facility.